The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Fracking on Public Lands—Members of Congress Send Letter to BLM Critiquing Proposed Rule
By Amy Mall
Members of the House Natural Resources Committee, led by Ranking Member Ed Markey, recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking him to strengthen the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) proposed fracking rule to ensure that it "properly manages the environmental and health risks of oil and gas extraction."
The House members emphasized the Interior Department's important role in establishing basic safety protections for oil and gas development. An investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that, between 2005 and 2009, 14 leading oil and gas companies used more than 780 million gallons of fracking products containing 750 different chemicals, including carcinogens and diesel.
The letter provides a lot of insight and valuable analysis. Key recommendations in the letter about the BLM fracking rule include:
- Require companies to disclose the identity and volume of chemicals used in fracking before it takes place, instead of only after the fact.
- Ban open air pits for storage of fracking waste, since they have a higher risk of leaks and spills than pitless systems and expose hazardous chemicals to the air.
- Set strict standards for well design and construction. Instead, the letter points out that the draft rule is silent on well construction, provides no engineering criteria, and allows operators to get a waiver from even minimum standards.
- Delineate proper distance requirements from schools and other populated areas from fractured wells, especially given air pollution concerns related to fracking.
- Reconsideration of FracFocus as the public disclosure website since, in its current form, it would not provide all the information required to be disclosed to the public and would not comply with the President's Open Government Directive or be subject to federal open records law.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.